The torture of turning everything off

Discuss how we deal with modern technology

The torture of turning everything off

Postby pierreo on 23 Aug 2008, 11:16

Several months ago, I read an article in the International Herald Tribune which caught my attention. It actually started on Page 1 - must have been a slow news day. The author of the article recounted the initial fear, than torture and ultimatly the joy of turning all his electronic gadgets off one day a week.
We have phones which we can take everywhere so we can talk with friends; we have laptops and blackberries which allow us to check e-mail everywhere; we have laptops, phones and portable radios which allow us to get the news everywhere; we have phones and IPods which allow us to listen to music everywhere. And the list does not end there.

Over the past 10 years we have moved into a world where waiting 24 hours for a response is no longer acceptable ... to some! Particularly in some businesses, there are more and more people who are expected to be 'available' 24 hours a day and on short notice. It was not so long ago that some businesses would shut down for a whole month of vacation. Now, we cannot even stop for a two day week-end?

I see it around me all the time. In a meeting, some one's phone rings and without hesitation he answers. I have been with friends who were sending out e-mail from their balckberries as we were sailing out of the harbour in the Virgin Islands, actually asking me to slow down so they would not lose the signal before they were done.

I am fortunate that, I think, I have not become a slave to this technology. I do not have to be reacheable ALL THE TIME, and the main reason why I have a portable phone is for me to call others, not the other way around. I like to check my e-mail regularly, but can live without it for several days if I have to, or want to. And particularly when it comes to work, my time is my time and thererfore I will not check my e-mail on week-ends and usually turn off my work phone when I leave the office on Friday.
Don't get me wrong - I love all these toys. I am glad to be able to listen to my music when I am on a plane, or be able to play games on my laptop. An the convenience of the portable phone is nice to have.
But I am the one who has to be in charge of when and where I use them.

In many places, portable phones are actually becoming a nuisance to others. In the US, where it is still allowed to drive while holding a phone to you ear, the majority of accidents are now 'facilitated' by people on the phone. In many places, it is impossible to go to a movies and not be interrupted by several ringing phones. More and more restaurants are banning phones.
In Singapore, when you go to the new Esplanade, you get no reception inside of the theatre or concert hall.
In the US, they are talking about doing the same thing, but are afraid of patrons suing the theatre owner because they might miss an important call.

How do you feel about the 'invasion' of modern technology in your own life?
How do you deal with your own toys, and those of others?
Do we need more 'rules' to prevent further nuisance, since some people seem to refuse to be considerate?
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